Simulation of reactor pulses in fast burst and externally driven nuclear assemblies
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The following research contributes original concepts to the fields of deterministic neutron transport modeling and reactor power excursion simulation. A deterministic neutron transport code was created to assess the value of new methods of determining neutron current, fluence, and flux values through the use of view factor and average path length calculations. The neutron transport code is also capable of modeling the highly anisotropic neutron transport of deuterium-tritium fusion external source neutrons using diffusion theory with the aid of a modified first collision source term. The neutron transport code was benchmarked with MCNP, an industry standard stochastic neutron transport code. Deterministic neutron transport methods allow users to model large quantities of neutrons without simulating their interactions individually. Subsequently, deterministic methods allow users to more easily couple neutron transport simulations with other physics simulations. Heat transfer and thermoelastic mechanics physics simulation modules were each developed and benchmarked using COMSOL, a commercial heat transfer and mechanics simulation software. The physics simulation modules were then coupled and used to simulate reactor pulses in fast burst and externally driven nuclear assemblies. The coupled system of equations represents a new method of simulating reactor pulses that allows users to more fully characterize pulsed assemblies. Unlike older methods of reactor pulse simulation, the method presented in this research does not require data from the operational reactor in order to simulate its behavior. The ability to simulate the coupled neutron transport and thermo-mechanical feedback present in pulsed reactors prior their construction would significantly enhance the quality of pulsed reactor pre-construction safety analysis. Additionally, a graphical user interface is created to allow users to run simulations and visualize the results using the coupled physics simulation modules.